Meetup.com allows groups to publicise all manner of events all around the World. I was annoyed recently when I received an invite excluding coaches, financial advisers and others. In this weeks post I’ll try and explain why this happens, what the uninvited can do to help themselves and why this attitude can prove to be an opportunity for the brave.
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Why are people judging those they haven’t even met?
Meetups are great, they are held for all sorts of reasons from business support to finding participants for adventure holidays. Typically, they are an opportunity to network and some have very definite outcomes which are made clear on the invite. Sometimes the organiser will have a reason for wanting to get a few new people in a room together yet they don’t always make it clear what their motive is.
The invite to this group didn’t make clear why it was being set up yet it was crystal clear in it’s aim to exclude people from certain sectors. Perhaps they had been to events where “coaches” and financial advisers had tried to sell to them – developing a dodgy brand for those that follow. Did this leave them wondering how they could sell their own wares? A lot of people I’ve met had this concern and I’ve previously posted that this is networkings dirty little secret.
What can the uninvited do to help themselves?
The main concern of this particular group leader seems to be a common one. If people are trying to sell to me how am I going to sell to them? This is the natural concern, perhaps hidden, of most people who network which maybe why so many “vomit” their sales pitch on you without getting permission. Or could it be that the organiser wanted all the attendees to understand it was relaxed or informal and used this “brand” as an example?
If you don’t want to be viewed as someone who sells the only answer is not to sell. Develop a strong personal brand by ensuring you can help people that you meet. They will give you the opportunity to attend other events. At this point you have an opportunity to promote yourself, your business or your cause and request what is of most benefit to you. Perhaps you can introduce yourself using a metaphor that avoids bad brands and makes it clear what you do?
Where is the opportunity?
I would say anyone that thinks a coach or financial adviser are not great people to have in a group probably needs a coach. I’m not a coach or a financial adviser yet I have a lot of time for them. If I saw a group excluding my competition, I would ask to attend. I would make it clear what I did and help them understand how I could help the group, rather than vomiting how I can help myself.
I’m not saying you should go where you are made unwelcome. Yet if you get the feeling your “brand” may be tainted by what has gone before you shouldn’t allow people to associate you with it. Develop your own with a reputation for being helpful. And reap the rewards where others cannot tread if you are really brave. I know not everyone will feel comfortable doing this. Fortune favours the brave.
Wrap up: If you want to build a network do not exclude anyone that is of high quality, you can tell by the way they act whether they are experienced or need your help. If they need a bit of help provide it rather than abandoning them. Don’t judge by whom you have met before.
Top Tip: Don’t make your whole network a business. You might be missing opportunities to meet people you wouldn’t meet in other settings. Go to groups that resonate with you on a social level. Meetup.com is a good place to start as are LinkedIn groups.
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